Are you selecting the best candidate for your job opening and organization?
Making the wrong hire is costly to an organization, both financially, in terms of cost and time involved in filling a position and in terms of not adding the appropriate human capital to your organization.
Selecting the right employee:
You also want to ensure that you are not missing people who would have performed well in the position (false negatives) or ending up with an employee who does not fit the position or your organization (false positives).
Many service providers in Ottawa provide services and programs that help employers effectively select people. You can also explore online resources that will help to guide you through the selection process.
Remember that having clear job descriptions (Develop HR Plan) and job ads in the right places (Find People) are important steps to set you up for an effective selection process. Using the resources and tools in this section will help you to take it from there!
Many employment service providers in Ottawa provide workshops for employers around the selection process – including pre-screening candidates and the provision of free space for job fairs, one-on-one interviews, and help in planning meet-and-greet events with job seekers. Explore the section on Getting Recruitment Support and see the links below to point you in the right direction to finding these programs and services.
You can also check learning events and workshop offerings from the local Chambers of Commerce, professional associations, and other business-focused organizations. Please visit our Employer Information Sheets page to find out more about these sources of information.
It is important to document all your hiring decisions to protect yourself from any claims from unsuccessful candidates. Having a written job offer and contract at the end of the process that is kept on file is also highly recommended. If there are any issues down the road, being able to reference clear, written documents will help you make your case.
Screening is the first step of the selection process and it involves identifying individuals from the applicant pool who have the minimum qualifications for the position; candidates “passing” this first hurdle of a résumé screening may be asked to participate in a telephone screening before any interviews take place. Obviously, how much screening you choose to do will be based, in part, on how many applicants there are and how specific the skills and knowledge are that you require.
Interviewing candidates is a time-consuming process, and proper screening will ensure that you have a manageable pool of candidates at the interview stage.
When you’re screening applicants, the main goal is finding the right candidate for the position offered. Through examining the person’s qualifications and past work experience, the employer must avoid the “just like me” trap. Candidates should not be selected based on similar educational backgrounds, age, gender, race, or similar hobbies. At the same time, it is important to ensure that you are avoiding any discriminatory practices or questions at this stage in the selection process.
Resumes often fall into two categories: chronological resume and functional resume
Make sure that any gaps in work experiences are recognized, but are not an issue.
Using the job description and list of qualifications
Overall neatness and consistency
Look for accomplishments
Detecting a career path
When there are a few gaps in the applicant’s resume, it doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t be a good candidate. You should keep a list of the qualifications you are looking for in mind, and see how each resume demonstrates these skills as you narrow your search for a shortlist of candidates.
If you have a large pool of candidates left after pre-screening the resumes, you can conduct telephone pre-screening interviews. Screening applicants by phone can help you identify a list of qualified candidates to move forward to face-to-face interviews. Pre-screen interviews allow you to check some facts with job candidates who applied for the position.
These phone conversations should take about 10-15 minutes and should be centered on a few basic questions that support the minimum job functions and the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) listed in the job description. The questions are designed to obtain and confirm information about the candidates’ backgrounds, qualifications, and if they are still interested in the job. Remember that telephone pre-screen interviews should avoid any appearance of discrimination.
Consider the following script for the phone calls:
Interviews are a key component of evaluating a candidate’s knowledge, skills and abilities related to the position, and they can also help you determine the candidate’s “fit” with your organization.
When you are ready to interview a candidate, there are a number of points to keep in mind. An interview should be an exchange of information between you and the candidate for a position.
Your objectives are to:
As the manager, you must:
DO YOUR HOMEWORK ON THE CANDIDATE
Be sure you review and understand the following:
DEVELOP AN APPROPRIATE LIST OF QUESTIONS
While you want to ask questions that will allow the candidate to outline knowledge, skills and abilities, it is also important to include behaviour-based questions that will help you determine “fit” with your organization and broader skills around critical thinking, judgement, etc.
Behaviour-based interviews focus on gathering information/ views on specific events in the candidate’s past that were somehow critical moments indicative of key decisions and action. Behavioural questions/”probes” often focus on HOW a person handles their extreme moments – their biggest challenge, most difficult problem to resolve, most stressful situation to deal with, most frustrating client situation, etc.
See the Tools and Resources below for sample questions and more information on behaviour-based interviews.
Please familiarize yourself with the following “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for conducting interviews.
Below is a sample Interview Guide developed by Nova Scotia Works. It consists of three parts. The first consists of the introduction and interview questions. The second part outlines what should be done to wrap up the interview. The final part is the evaluation of the applicant by the interviewer.
INTERVIEW GUIDE – PART ONE
Personal and Rapport Building Questions
Job Specific Questions
INTERVIEW GUIDE – PART TWO
INTERVIEW GUIDE – PART THREE
Interviewer’s Evaluation of Applicant
This evaluation form can be completed after each interview. Rate all the items that relate to the requirements of the job, but only those items.
|Skill Description||Exceeds Requirements||Meets Requirements||Below Requirements||N/A|
|Motivation - works hard to accomplish tasks and overcome obstacles|
|Follows Procedures - follows established policies and procedures|
|Carpentry Skills - trained and experienced in building kitchen cabinets|
When you are summarizing the findings, you will note and assess the responses to each question. You should also think about recurrent themes regarding the candidate’s strengths and development needs and ask yourself the following questions:
Once you have completed the interview process, it is time to make your final decision regarding the successful candidate. In terms of conducting reference checks, some organizations do so only for the final candidate selected, while others check with the top two or three candidates before making their final choice. Below we present a process based on conducting several reference checks before selecting the “final” candidate.
Reference checks are critical. First, it is important to validate the candidate’s experience and credentials needed for the position. Second, reference checking provides a golden opportunity to obtain additional, high quality information about a candidate’s track record, character traits and strengths and weaknesses on the job. Building on information gained in candidate interviews, reference checks can be linked to specific incidents discussed in the interviews and can provide a telling perspective on roles and behaviours.
The time it takes to conduct reference interviews is nominal compared to the time, cost and consequences of hiring the wrong person for the job. Employers have a duty to protect employees and clients from harm. In the worst-case scenario, an employer who fails to check references and hires a person with a history of abuse, etc. may be charged with negligent hiring.
Now that you have completed the process of interviewing and reference checking, it’s time to make your final choice. You should ask yourself if you have enough information and if you know enough about each candidate to make the right decision. If your answer is no, then you should contact the candidate and request a follow-up interview, but if your answer is yes, then it’s time to decide on which candidate you will hire.
Go back to your requirements of the job posting. The hiring criteria established in the job posting and what you have established from the beginning should guide you toward the decision. Take into account the relative importance of the particular skills or attributes the candidates possess.
Intangible qualities count in evaluating the candidates. Qualities such as motivation, creativity, resourcefulness and ability to handle stress are very hard to gauge or quantify but are important components in your evaluation of candidates.
Beware of the ‘halo effect.’ Make sure to avoid favouring one applicant over another for the wrong reasons. Managers can have a tendency to be so impressed by one particular aspect of a candidate – the person’s credentials, interests and so on – that it colours their overall perception of the individual. This is called the “halo effect” and it increases the risk that deficiencies in other key areas will go unnoticed.
Once you have conducted all your interviews and completed the references, you are almost done! When the final selection is made, you will be ready to present a job offer and welcome the new employee to the organization. An offer will be extended when consensus has been reached amongst all individuals involved in the interview process, including the candidate, and once references have been completed.
Make your written offer detailed and official and include all pertinent information -proposed start date, title, salary, benefits and any extras you and the candidate may have discussed. You should only make the offer when you are able to capture all of these details in writing. Ask the successful candidate to sign a duplicate copy of the acceptance letter. If the agreement is contingent on further reference checking or skills testing, make sure you include these conditions in the written offer.
You should keep all of your recruitment and selection materials on file for at least two years to document the process and your final decision. Throughout the selection process, make sure you comply with provincial and federal laws and your organization’s hiring policies and ensure that you have the paperwork to back this up.
“Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one another’s uniqueness.”
A diverse workforce is made up of individuals who have an array of identities, abilities, backgrounds, cultures, skills, perspectives and experiences that are representative of Canada’s current and evolving population. An inclusive workforce recognizes, values and fully leverages the diversity of the work environment by being fair, equitable, welcoming and respectful. It is important to promote an inclusive workforce in order to maintain a healthy work environment where workers feel welcomed and appreciated regardless of their backgrounds.
Embracing diversity helps your organization prevent discrimination and promote comprehensiveness. Having a diverse work force can increase staff retention and productivity. This will enhance the company’s awareness of the diverse relationships with customers, increase the company’s ability to manage change, and develop the creativity of the organization. Diversity can contribute to the business goals and values.
The Employment Equity Act encourages improved job opportunities four specific groups: women, Aboriginal people, members of visible minorities, and people with disabilities. Whereas the Canadian Human Rights Act entitles all individuals to equal opportunities without regard to race or color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, family or marital status, sex, pardoned conviction, disability or sexual orientation.
The HR Council outlines three key components of building a foundation for diversity. For change to take place, employers need to make a firm commitment and take action. This is how organizations can build a strong foundation for diversity.
Building and sustaining a diverse workforce is a shared responsibility in an organization. Management has to lead by example and make a certain commitment to diversity.
Managers need to have a good understanding of the different cultures represented on their team to eliminate any stereotypes or prejudices. Open communication helps team members better understand the unique aspects of various cultures, and encourage discussion as to how these qualities can be incorporated into the work environment.
Boards of directors and senior management teams need to set the tone and ensure that their own behaviour aligns with organizational values and missions. An organization’s ability to attract, retain and support diverse employees also reflects the way an organization is able to approach diversity more broadly – with volunteers, members and the larger community.
To get started, senior management can facilitate an initial investigation of current diversity strengths and challenges in the organization. A quick assessment can be made by asking the following questions:
According to Nova Scotia Works, the best way to build an inclusive environment is to build principles of diversity into the foundation and structures of your company. The first step for doing this is to create a diversity statement. Like a mission statement, a diversity statement commits a company to taking specific steps. Further, communication is an important element of building an inclusive environment. Communicate your commitment to your clients, customers, employees, and job seekers to show that you believe in diversity in the workplace:
Nova Scotia Works advises employers to consider developing an anti-bullying/harassment policy which outlines that employees will:
Ensure the selection has a diverse talent. Any HR policies and practices should be reviewed carefully to identify barriers and opportunities for improvement. Working towards increased and enhanced workplace diversity is not difficult or complicated– it’s about having solid HR practices.
Reviewing HR policies and practices with attention to diversity highlights good recruitment and selection practices that help organizations focus on building a diverse workplace. The areas of attention include:
For examples of how to reduce bias in the selection process please click on the link Reduction of bias in the selection process.
Once you have selected the “right” person, it is important to ensure that they are equipped with the information they need to be successful team members who can contribute to your organization. This involves understanding policies and processes, as well as understanding the organization’s culture. The hoped-for result is a balance between the expectations of the new employee and your organization.
Ryerson University provides the following definition to differentiate between orientation and onboarding: “Orientation is an event; onboarding is a process.”
Throughout this section and in many of the documents referenced, the term “orientation” also refers to the longer-term onboarding components.
Orientation is important because it gives new employees a sense of belonging, reduces turnover and increases employee understanding of the policies and procedures within the organization. New employees who are highly integrated into the work team feel a stronger sense of loyalty to both the work team and the organization.
HR Council highlights the role of good orientation in enabling new employees to be successful by:
There are several factors to keep in mind:
See HR.com’s article on Onboarding to read more about these factors and how to incorporate them into your orientation process.
COVERING THE BASICS
HR Council outlines key basics for welcoming new employees:
In developing or reviewing your process ensure that you focus on the following:
Throughout this portal, we emphasize the importance of documenting employee information. While it is not the main focus of orientation, it is essential you focus on the following as applicable to your organization: